Former President Goodluck Jonathan may have on the basis of last Friday’s judgement of the Appeal Court recognized Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the crisis-ridden Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Jonathan’s body language and statements on Monday indicated that he is not opposed to the leadership of Sheriff as he repeatedly called him “My Chairman.”
However, the former President seems not to be on the same page on the issue with the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, his Ekiti State counterpart, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and other party leaders.
Wike and the others bluntly rejected Sheriff as the PDP national chairman and lamented the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) intolerance of the opposition.
Their comments may have been prompted by the Police refusal of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi’s group of the PDP, the opportunity to hold its meeting yesterday at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja.
Speaking with newsmen after a closed door meeting with Sheriff, Jonathan said that the PDP is not factionalised.
During the interactive, Jonathan who had initially declined to speak with journalists until Sheriff appealed to him to oblige the request of the newsmen, repeatedly called the former Borno State governor: “My Chairman, My Chairman.”
He said: “We are solving our problems. There are bound to be differences in politics. It is the way we resolve these differences that makes us human beings and that is what makes us leaders. We are not fictionalised. We are one.
“I have met with Sheriff. And I have met with others. I will still meet with others, so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party.”
In his comment, Sheriff said that he would not join issue with anybody, stressing that, “if I go down to their level, it means we are the same.”
He added that he is consulting with leaders of the party and would address Nigerians after due consultation.
Sheriff said: “We only have one PDP and only one chairman. We are putting things together to ensure that the party is united. We don’t want to have a divided house. We don’t have anything like caretaker committee.
At the PDP stakeholders’ meeting, Governor Wike said that he and the people of Rivers State will not do anything with anybody at the level of national chairman except with Makarfi.
He said: “On behalf of Rivers State, we will not relent. I will not’ Rivers State will not do anything with anybody other than Makarfi. We are not surprise by what is going on. We are used to it.
“This is the kind of democracy we know they will give to us. This is the period we will know those who are stronger. When we won the matter, they stopped us from gaining entrance into the secretariat.
“That is to say that they are not the only people fighting us. They wouldn’t have closed down ICC if the government had not joined forces with the other people. No amount of intimidation will stop the PDP,” he stated.
Fayose on his part said that the “Judiciary cannot tell us who will be our chairman” and lambasted the police for attempting to disrupt the meeting.
The governor alleged that the ruling party wants to destroy the PDP, which is the only viable opposition, adding that, “those closing our meeting should be careful.”
On his part, EKweremadu said that “all key organs and bodies of the PDP movement towards the Makarfi-led PDP National Caretaker Committee despite the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the party’s leadership tussle showed that “it is not the hood that makes the monk.”
He expressed anger toward the sealing of the ICC, Abuja, the earlier venue for the PDP stakeholders’ meeting by the security agencies.
Ekweremadu said: “Flagrant manipulation of critical institutions of democracy was not only dangerous, but bad news for the nation’s democracy.
“We are aware that all the institutions of democracy are being manipulated and harassed in this country. The National Assembly and the Press are not left out. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been captured and now a part of the APC. Our judiciary is being insulted and assaulted daily. Judges’ houses are being attacked very late at night and the judges are being harassed.
“So, we are not surprised at what we are seeing today (sealing of the meeting venue). But what remains is for us to remain resolute,” he said.
In its communique, the PDP stakeholders said: “Having duly filed both an appeal at the Supreme Court and an application for Injunction pending appeal in the morning of Monday, the 20th February, 2017, we pass a resounding and unqualified vote of confidence in the leadership of the Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party and pledge our unalloyed support to it as it pilots the affairs of the party in this critical transitional period of the party’s life.
“To this end, we are not at all deceived by the supposed olive branch being offered by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, knowing that the only thing that can come from traitors of his ilk is nothing but a poisoned chalice and a Greek gift.”